Karlsson back on top at British Masters

By Michael Heath 3 months ago

Robert Karlsson rolled back the years on day three at the British Masters supported by Sky Sports to take a one-shot lead into the final round at Close House Golf Club.

The 2008 Order of Merit winner claimed the last of his 11 European Tour wins at the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World in 2010 and was once again at the head of an elite field after firing a 67.

That moved the 48 year old to 12 under but he will have to be at his very best on Sunday to keep a congested and high quality chasing pack at bay.

Ryder Cup talisman Ian Poulter, local favourite Graeme Storm, fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, Ireland’s Paul Dunne and Scot Richie Ramsay were just one shot back, and only one ahead of a group containing World Number Six Rory McIlroy.

The four-time Major Championship winner fired a 64 to get to ten under alongside South African George Coetzee, England’s Chris Hanson, Swede David Lingmerth and Ireland’s Shane Lowry.

Karlsson is 164th in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex with no top tens this season and while his stellar career means he is in no danger of losing his playing privileges, he will be going in search of a best European Tour result since he finished fourth at the Alstom Open de France in 2014.

He made an eagle, two birdies and a bogey on Saturday and will take the lead into the final day of a tournament for the first time since the 2008 Mercedes Benz Championship.

“Every time you play well, every time you’re up in contention at tournaments, it’s what we all practise for and what we all play for,” said the Swede.

“It’s fantastic to play here. It’s a great crowd and I’m very, very happy to be in the last group. It’s a long time since I was there.

“I didn’t hit the ball very good so I put myself in a lot of trouble. But I managed to keep it together very nicely and I’m very proud of the way I scored in the end. So it was good.”

The Ryder Cup Vice Captain bogeyed the eighth hole but with the tee up 145 yards on the par four ninth he got on the green in two and rolled home the eagle putt to turn in 34.

A chip-in on the 11th had him right in contention and an excellent approach to the 17th – just his second hit fairway of the day – put him in a share of the lead before Hatton bogeyed the last.

The 25 year old entered the day with a three-shot lead and had to grind his way to a one over par 71. He dropped a shot after finishing near a wall with his second shot on the second but got back into red numbers when he took advantage of the ninth and par five 13th before bogeying the 15th and last.

Countryman Poulter chipped in on the third but double-bogeyed the fifth after finding the water before making gains on the ninth and tenth. He made another bogey on the 12th but capitalised on the 13th and hit a nice tee-shot into the par three finisher.

Five of the Best – British Masters Day 3

Ramsay was bogey-free with an eagle on the ninth in his 65, a score matched by Dunne who had a single blemish on his card.

Storm – from nearby Hartlepool – squandered chances as his putter went cold on the back nine but still registered a 67 with five birdies and two bogeys.

McIlroy birdied the third, chipped in at the fifth and made further gains on the gettable sixth, ninth and 13th before holing a ten-footer on the penultimate hole.

Lingmerth posted the lowest round of the week so far with a 62, with Coetzee signing for a 65, Lowry a 66 and Hanson a 69.

Tournament host Lee Westwood, 2015 champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, fellow Englishman Chris Wood and last week’s winner Lucas Bjerregaard were then at nine under.

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